Requesting Tips. Learning a game from Mechanics to Chars

I think a common mistake people (including myself) make when jumping into a new fighting game or attempting to learn a new character is to jump immediately into whatever trial mode the game has and trying to mash together a few BnBs to take online. The downfalls of this are obvious, you’re not learning the character or game at all and you’re certainly not coming away from what could be hours of training mode time with anything tangible. I’ve come across the situation where I would know a characters combos but end up being beaten by someone who clearly has a better understanding of the overlying game, that are showing a far better feel for the basic fundamentals.

So I guess my question is … what are you guys doing as your first steps when it comes to picking up a new fighting game or a new character? How do you maximize your time in training mode to make sure you’re coming out with more than just corner specific combos that you can’t get off because you dont know how to effectively use the toolset your character has at their disposal? How do you go about practicing these more ambiguous aspects of a game? I want to practice smarter.

I will argue to death that, learning moves notwithstanding, that the first thing that a person should learn in a game is a combo. Games are ultimately won with damage and at the low levels opportunities to land that damage will be common and apparent. The nuances can come with time, but if you wanna make any of the other aspects matter you have to make them count first.

This doubles as giving you familiarity with moves and such and such, but the point remains. The first “hard” skill I’d give to a player is a punish combo

Well… i don’t really know because SF4 is the first fighter I’ve played in years.

But I do know that I was so focused on landing combos for the first year or 2 that I was playing like a robot. I was only looking for those positions that I could punish from.

I now have a saying: “play the player, not the character” which means that I’m just watching what my opponent does. If they jump, I aa. If I think a ground combo is coming, I block and watch for the throw. If they stuff up and become vulnerable, THEN i will punish, but I’m not looking for it, i’ll just take it if I get it.

And I win a lot more now.

So combos are important, but really, the most important thing is to hit them when they’re open, and to predict what they’re gonna do. Nothing more satisfying that jumping that fireball and landing an ultra. But you have to be watching for it.

So I don’t even really spend time in practise mode anymore. I just play the game.

When I switch to a new character, I just try to learn his or her most damaging and reliable bnb and maybe see if they have any throw setups or crossups in training mode. Then everything else, like what normals to use when, I try to learn while playing matches. Just more fun that way instead of testing those things against a dummy. This probably isn’t the best thing if you care about your online rank

Just break things into parts, slow down, most people are impulse all the time. I tend to think things over a lot but heck, it’s not like you can go into a FPS game and pull a Neo now can ya?

I think you make a fair point. It’s good to know the basic game mechanics but it still is important to know a few combos just so you can punish with a bit of damage. You can win games entirely on footsies and solid anti air.

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I feel as though indepth knowledge of any game engine will require more time than the original beginner frame of mind will allow for. For example, you could go and play 3s or MOTW and learn punish combos, BnB’s and how to play rudimentary footsies and still lose to someone who has more raw experience than you. SF4 is the same way, once you get past the initial trial mode phase, you are forced to learn how to actually play. The only solution is play a lot of matches, preferably locally because so much of every fighting game is purely mental that if you don’t actually play against humans then you will never learn.